The idea for the textile company, Olive & Linen, was founded by brother and sister team Eda Krishnan and Onur Demirtas and was born from a desire to simplify life.
An engineer by profession, Krishan was a busy mother of four and was tired of doing endless loads of laundry filled with bulky towels that took up too much space and were impractical for beach trips. So she turned to flat-woven Turkish towels to declutter and streamline both her linen closet and her life. Traditional Turkish towels were a great alternative with all the functionality minus the bulk.
In Search of the Perfect Towel
In her quest to find the perfect towel, she was disappointed with what was available in the US. Many of the widely available flat-woven towels were made from lower-grade cotton and contained synthetic materials that resulted in non-absorbent and unsustainable towels. In 2016, her search prompted her to partner with her brother in Turkey. It started Olive & Linen on a journey to make premium handcrafted textiles with a sustainable and socially conscious mandate. Their search for the finest peshtemals (Turkish towels) took them to a small family of weavers in Denizli, Turkey.
"All of our products are made in a small town in southwestern Turkey with a vibrant textile tradition dating back hundreds of years," explains Krishan. "Handweaving is an art form that requires great skill and creativity. It's a craft passed down from generation to generation, and many families in the town rely on weaving for their livelihood. But the advance of machine weaving and factories have made it difficult for them to do so."
"We are trying to do our part to preserve the tradition of weaving so that it can continue to thrive in this unique town. We work directly with our weavers in every production stage and make sure that they are paid fairly. Most of them have small workshops in their homes with one or two looms inherited from previous generations, and they continue to use these traditional looms to weave our textiles. They are truly our partners, and we are so happy to be able to bring their amazing work into your homes."
Peshtemal's, also known as hammam or Fouta towels, are flat woven towels dating back centuries to when hammams or bathhouses were an integral part of people's lives for cleansing and relaxation. Turkish cotton is a premium fiber grown exclusively in the Aegean and Southeastern regions of Turkey. It has extra-long staples, which means that it requires fewer joints to form the yarn. This results in a much stronger, smoother, and more durable thread ideal for long-lasting towels.
The Olive & Linen textiles are handwoven on manual looms by mainly female artisans in their homes. Using the highest grade, 100% long-staple Turkish cotton free of harmful chemicals, the premium fibers, and the weaving techniques result in super-soft, highly absorbent, and durable towels.
"Our products are certified free of harmful chemicals and irritants. We use 100% all-natural raw materials with a traceable supply chain. You will not find synthetic materials in any of our products. There is also a huge reduction in energy and water consumption since our towels take up a lot less water to launder and do not even require a dryer since they dry so fast," says Krishan.
What We Love
What we love most about the peshtemal is how versatile and practical it is. It is a bath sheet, a beach towel, a picnic blanket, a throw, a baby blanket, a wrap, a sarong, a scarf... It can literally become anything you imagine it to be. You can even make a few knots and turn it into a beach bag. They are especially great for the beach as the flat weave does not pick up sand. Just shake it off, and you are good to go.
The current collection of products from Olive & Linen includes bath towels, bathrobes, throws, bathmats, and table runners. "Our double-sided towels have been a huge hit. They offer the best of both worlds with a flat woven front and low pile terry back. They are a great transition to Turkish towels since they offer the familiarity of terry cloth on the inside, and they are super soft and absorbent yet still lightweight and quick-drying," says Krishan.
7 Reasons You Should Own a Peshtemal
1. Beautiful to look at.
2. Sustainable and supports artisans preserving an ancient craft.
3. Quick-drying, making them perfect for the beach.
4. Softer than any other towel you've wrapped yourself in, and they get softer with use.
5. Super lightweight and packable.
6. Machine washable and easy to tumble dry.
7. Versatile: scarf, throw, towel, yoga mat.